Weight-Loss Plan for The Housebound Disabled
This plan combines a few different methods for losing fat and gaining muscle. Each method helps a little, but combined together they help immensely. I’ve been primarily housebound for 17 years, and I’m on 22-hour bedrest on average for the rest of my life. One thing you gain quickly with such a sedentary life is fat, and one of the quickest things you can lose is muscle.
In the past I’ve gained as much as 20 pounds in 1 month and was so weak I could not go from a sitting position to a standing position without help. In 2001 I was told by doctors that I was lucky if I would live another two years before my muscles atrophied and my organs failed. What they didn’t account for was the fact that science and willpower were on my side.
When my doctors told me the best way to reduce my chronic pain and other sensitivities was to lose weight, I came back to my 8 month follow-up appointment 65 pounds lighter. These days, I maintain my weight as best I can throughout the year, and 3 months out of the year I push myself as hard as I can to lose the fat gained and gain the muscle lost.
It’s the only reason I’m still living independently. And it really isn’t that terribly hard to do once you get the hang of it. It may not work for everyone, it may need some modifications to work for you by your doctor or physical therapist, but these are my secrets to how I have lost the weight and kept the weight off over the years.
You need to eat enough, and only enough, to maintain your weight and reduce it a little to lose weight.
This can be tricky to do, but given how many foods I can’t eat and the fact that I make all of my meals from scratch makes this much easier. They don’t have to be complicated meals, and you can set a weekly meal plan and stick to it year round and make small modifications as you go to keep it interesting.
Honestly, I eat pretty much the same meals over and over again for months with only minor changes because I just don’t have the energy to come up with new meal plans. There’s too many foods I cannot have and I have a very delicate electrolyte balance I need to keep stable. It also helps me rule diet out as a cause when new symptoms occur.
I’ll be going over my diet for this year’s Bootcamp later on, but it’s basically the same things I eat all year, just more veggies and fruit substituting for the more calorie packed foods (e.g. more tomatoes and less pasta in my spaghetti dinners).
Eat metabolism stimulating whole foods.
I already mentioned I make my own meals, but not only that; I eat whole foods and mainly foods that are metabolism stimulating. This means that these foods, in moderation, actually help you burn more fat. So, you can actually eat foods that you may consider too fattening, but in actuality they will be your best fat burners if you have a fair amount of metabolism stimulating foods per meal.
Intermittent fasting and eating every hour.
Intermittent fasting isn’t like normal fasting where you go days without food. Nope, it’s a far gentler process. The rule of thumb is to not eat or drink anything after 8pm. If you can mange this, guess what? When your body runs out of food to burn overnight, it will have no choice but to burn fat instead. That’s’ right, you burn fat while you sleep.
The second part of this is to see how long you can go without food throughout the day. During the rest of the year I don’t eat until noon. Eating before noon makes hungrier, I end up eat more by the end, and it complicates my life. It also can make me feel more sluggish and tired.
So, for me at least, breakfast is a meal I’m best skipping. During bootcamp months I try to not eat until 2pm. Sometimes it’s 1pm, sometimes its noon, but the point is to not let my stomach hurt, I don’t want to suffer, and suffering only leads to quitting the diet before progress is made. So, even if you only want to do one secret and only one secret, this is the one to do. This will give you results overtime by doing practically nothing.
Eating every hour once your fast is over is very important. One reason is because you’re going to be very hungry and nutrient deprived. The other reason is that your body has not been storing fat but rather burning fat for many hours now and you don’t want it to go into fat storing mode. Keeping a little bit of food in your stomach by eating a little meal every hour will keep you from going into fat storing mode. So, if you start eating at 1pm, eat again at 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and have a small snack at 7pm IF you need it. The rest of the time stick to water with fruit juice.
If you have medications or supplements you have to take in the AM, take them. If they can wait until you start eating, that is the best time to take them especially if the medication must be taken with a meal.
Combine light cardio and strength training.
Yes, you can’t build muscle and lose a lot of fat in a short amount of time without exercise. My go-to is a rowing machine, because it pretty much works everything all at once so my workouts are much shorter. It doesn’t have to be an expensive rowing machine either, mine is a cheap one from Walmart that I bought on sale after Christmas.
Set your rower to the lowest setting and go as long as you can. Your goal is to do 20-30 minutes per day; in the morning before you eat is best. Watch TV while you do it, and pick up the pace as much as you can in the last 5 minutes. If you have any sharp pains STOP and try again the next day.
You want to avoid injury at all costs as that will land you unable to exercise for days, even weeks. It’s not worth that extra ten minutes today to hurt yourself bad enough that you cannot work out for days because of it.
Rowing machines burn a lot of calories in a small amount time and work the legs, butt, core, and upper body at once. The higher the setting and slower you go – the more muscle you gain. The lower the setting and faster you go – the more fat you lose. So, find your happy medium and as you lose weight and the setting your on machine gets too easy, take it up a notch.
If your biggest fat accumulating areas are your stomach and butt, kiss them goodbye with a rowing machine.
You heard me, pamper yourself. You’re going to hurt like hell after using that rowing machine. Your feet, abs, back, arms, legs, butt, it’s all going to hurt. Post workout, the first thing you need to do is lay down with your feet in the air. Rest your heals against the wall if need be, or do some scissor exercises that engage the abs while you’re at it.
Elevating your legs helps the pooled blood move out of that area and helps prevent pressure pains in your lower body. Next, put those sore feet in a bucket of HOT water with some epsom salts. Let those sore dogs soak for at least 15 minutes. Let yourself rest for a few hours, and once the pain is full force decide if a pain pill or a really hot bath with epsom salts are in order.
Don’t just say you’re going to exercise for 30 minutes, just do what you can do and shoot for 30 minutes. Remember, 10 minutes of giving it your all burns more calories than 30 minutes of taking it really slow. Time means nothing, effort does.
Watch a TV show with physically fit people in it, or listen to music that gets you pumped up. Music from your youth is great for added energy and motivation. If you are too weak or in too much pain to exercise one day, don’t worry about it, and don’t try to make up for it the next day and end up over doing it.
Just do what you can do when you can do it. If the morning is bad for you, do it in the afternoon. If you still can’t do it, try doing it in the evening. And don’t just try in your head, actually get on the rower and try for 5 minutes before you give up…unless you can’t even get out of bed, in which case, you need to just be resting and recouping not exercising.
Avoid exercising through sharp pains and spasms.
You want to PUSH yourself as much as you can without sustaining an injury. You will hurt after, but guess what, you’re burning calories recouping from all the hard work through the entire day. Even if it’s just 5 minutes of pushing as hard as you can go, that will enable you to be a fat burning powerhouse the rest of the day even when your feet up and you’re vegging out.
Don’t stop during the plateau.
After losing about 10 pounds, your body is going to plateau and that scale may not budge for a week or two. DO NOT STOP. You need to keep doing what you are doing during this time even though you aren’t seeing any rewards. The scale may not budge because you’re plateauing, but it could also be because you’re holding water weight. Your pants may not be feeling loser, but you may still be gaining a bit of muscle. Once you come off the plateau you may see a sudden drop of weight, albeit small.
During the plateau you can add a little more to your diet, but don’t go overboard. A little more fruit, a little extra meat, and extra snack, a little more pasta. You need to add a little more calories to your diet to trick your body out of the plateau. If you stick with the bootcamp low calorie diet through a plateau you may not come out of it for a month.
You have to build muscle.
I know easy cardio workouts sound less exhausting sometimes, but muscle takes more calories to maintain than fat. This means the more muscle you have the more calories you burn. This is the biggest help for me in maintaining my weight year round, because my body has a fair amount of muscle. Before, when I was mostly fat, it was very difficult for me to lose weight, but not after I packed on the muscle.
This means you need a fair amount of protein in your diet and to make sure your rowing machine is challenging. Set it on one for a while and then 2. Or, keep it on one but only use one leg to push or one arm to pull on occasion. While you won’t see that scale budge when you are gaining muscle, don’t fret and give up, that muscle is going to help you lose weight easier in the long run and you need healthy muscle for healthy organ function.
Also, while intermittent fasting helps you burn calories whiles you sleep, some of those calories aren’t just fat, they can also be muscle. Focusing on building muscle makes sure you end up with more muscle in the end rather than less. However, if you’re following this weight loss plan to the T, muscle loss will be significantly less likely even without focusing on muscle building compared to most diets and fasting plans.
This is because this plan pushes hard on fat burning all around, whereby sparing as much muscle as possible. Because of the muscle sparing, you should notice a difference in the shape of your body within the first month due to muscle gain.
Ditch the refined and artificial sugar and drink plenty of water.
Refined and artificial sugar is one of the biggest things keeping you from losing weight. Natural sugars like stevia are great alternatives, but sugar, cane sugar, molasses, splenda, etc., get rid of it as best you can. Also, you will need to drink a lot of water. Not and insane amount, just keep a glass next to you at all times. Water helps your body heal and keeps your metabolism up. Put in a little fruit juice and a packet of stevia to make it less boring during your eating hours, but keep it plain during fasting hours.
Schedule your yearly bootcamp during the time of the year you are lest active.
Your going to hurt, you’re not going to want to do a lot of extra stuff, so schedule wisely. For me, my bootcamp months are during the summer in August, September, and October because it’s too damn hot for me to be out and about and I just sit around with nothing to do all day during these months.
This way, it doesn’t matter how sore I am, because I have nothing to get up and have to do, or places to go other than to get groceries. My dog is trained to run laps in the back yard and she wouldn’t have it any other way. So, for me this is the best time of the year, but you’re bootcamp months may be different; a different time of year, or a different season.
I’m very glad for the Mexiletine partially treating my potassium aggravated myotonia; at least that’s what I think was the issue. I can now eat high potassium foods for the first time since going on Mexiletine since I was a kid without severe weakness or stiffness. I can’t eat a whole avocado, but I can at least eat a little bit of one. Below I used a US quarter to show scale.
Please keep in mind this is a diet for someone on 22-hour bed rest, so calories will be too low for average or even most sedentary people.
A Bowl of Frozen Berries.
Metabolism stimulating and packed with vitamins and minerals. Sometimes I add a little banana and make a smoothie. In the colder months, warm them and sprinkle little stevia on them.
Lightly Toasted Guacamole and Turkey Bacon Sandwich.
Quarter of an avocado, big spoonful of tomatoes, a little hot sauce, a little bit of diced onion, a sprinkle of garlic salt, toast, and two strips of bacon. The bread has a little bit of artificial sugar in it, but only 2g per serving. For me, artificial sugar is the lesser of the two evils, with the other being refined.
Handful of French Fries.
Granted, sweet potato fries are ideal in this situation, they are far more metabolism stimulating, but the store stopped carrying any without sugar added. But, these do just fine. I pop them in the oven at 450 for 15 minutes. And hey, I get to be on a diet that includes French Fries!
This can be an apple, a stick of mozzarella cheese, or 100 calorie kettle corn popcorn. If I’m really hankering for berries I might have another but smaller bowl.
I boil a very small amount of pasta with about 2 ounces of ground beef. Drain the water, put in onions, hot sauce, cheese, two large spoonfuls of tomatoes, chop up the meat and sprinkle a little garlic salt on it, stir until cheese is well incorporated, pour in about half a cup of pasta sauce, put into a bowl and add a little parmesan cheese.
Only water with fruit juice.
Only plain water.